5. Questions

So, this time I want to turn things around and learn a little about everyone who follows the blog.  Here’s a few questions if anyone wants to answer and share a little about themselves, just post your answers in the blog comments:

1. What is your all-time favorite piece of gear (hardware or software) for making music?

2. Best concert or club night you’ve ever been to?

3. Who’s the one artist or musician you look up to the most, the one who inspires you?

4. What’s the one aspect of writing or performing music that you find most challenging?

5. Realistically, where do you see your music taking you?  What do you eventually want to get out of it? (hookers and coke don’t count this time)


Thanks to anyone that can take the time to share!  I’ll post my answers after a few other people chime in.



33 Replies to “5. Questions”

  1. Let’s see…

    1. Ableton Live, newest version. If you can think of it, Live will help you find a way to make it happen.

    2. The Twilight Singers-Blackberry Belle tour circa 2003. Close second was Midnight Oil 2002 on Capricornia tour.

    3. I can’t name a single musician. I would have to name a bunch, honestly, to cover all the bases as no one musician completely does it for me. However my favorite artist period (including musicians) has to be Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Vision, skill, ability, effect on his “audience”, he’s the total mastery package. Bruce Lee gets pantheon status here of course.

    4. Figuring out what to DO/figuring out why things don’t sound good together or as good as someone else’s work. You get going, start making choices, then its “aw hell, now what?” Sound design sucks the life out of me.

    5. Honestly? I want to prove that you can “make it” in the current musical environment without having to kill yourself/sell your soul/lose your family in the process.

  2. 1. This has to be Ableton Live. I struggled to get my head round DAWs until i tried this software
    2. Plastikman Live at Bestival 2010
    3. This is continually Richie Hawtin, mostly because of his love for technology and I like the fact he said he can’t play an instrument yet continues to make music that I want to dance to! Gives me hope!
    4. This is always music theory/ melodies etc or making stuff that sound ‘right’ if you know what I mean!
    5. I just want to make music I like, I have no expectations of it being a career. I do it for fun. If I get to meet great people through doing it than that’s a bonus!

  3. 1. Has to be propeller heads Reason. Such a fantastic piece of software, and for the detractors who say the sounds are not as good as massive/logic plugins etc, you just have to look deep on the web for great sounds, they are there 🙂 You can always rewire into a host DAW like Logic for extra processing or mixing etc.

    2. Best concert or club night you’ve ever been to? Wow it’s been a long time, but probably The Prodigy at Brixton Academy in London, in 1996. This was the first time Keith Flint had his Firestarter double mohawk, and they played the first tracks from what would be Fat of the Land.

    3. Who’s the one artist or musician you look up to the most, the one who inspires you? Liam Howlett – Prodigy. Period! The guys done so much in the way of cutting edge music it’s unbelievable. I just wish more people in the US had heard of them! Other than Liam, i’d say William Orbit, and most of the pioneers of 90’s Electronic music.

    4. What’s the one aspect of writing or performing music that you find most challenging? Recreating a ‘sound’ I get very negative when trying to recreate certain sounds and can’t do it. Music is about toying around and having happy accidents for the most part, but it doesn’t hurt to sit down and try and recreate a certain sound once in a while, keeps things in perspective and also helps learn about certain things you may not have tried before. Example, Sidechaining… After playing around and researching, I can now side chain anything. shame its been used to death but still a good thing to know how to do!

    5. Realistically, where do you see your music taking you? What do you eventually want to get out of it? (hookers and coke don’t count this time) To help as a creative outlet. money would be nice but really its about channelling a lot of creative energy. If my music sells, then great, but its mostly about discovering and producing something I can show others.

  4. 1. Tough to answer as I don’t have too much at the moment, but I’m a big fan of Ableton Live’s workflow and routing options. It’s helped me track out ideas much quicker than I’ve been able to do in other programs.

    2. Amon Tobin’s ISAM tour – caught this two weekends ago. Absolutely stunning audio visual experience, and having Eskmo as an opener was a treat! Definitely catch it if you can.

    3. Hmm this one is constantly changing depending on my current interests, however if I had to pick one of all time I’d have to pick Dave Tipper. His ability to blend organic and synthesized elements has always left me blown away.

    4. I’m currently struggling with overall track composition. I find myself writing lots of decent elements/synth loops, but rarely do they mesh together well. I’ve also been struggling with creating professional level patches/soundscapes, though adding some buss’d reverb has helped a bit here.

    5. Currently music is a creative outlet for me. I’m not in it to become the next festival headliner, I’m just a boy that likes exploring the twiddling of knobs to make cool noises (and playing a few gigs along the way wouldn’t be bad). Also, hookers and blow. 😀

  5. 1. Ableton Live. No question.

    2. Probably Lightning Bolt at Satyricon in Portland, OR circa…2006.

    3. Radiohead has probably inspired me the most over the course of my…life.

    4. Song structure.

    5. I do it for the sake of doing it. I’m not going to be making money or impressing women any time soon.

  6. 1. Acoustic Guitar….my first REAL instrument. My first REAL love.

    2. CSN&Y reunion tour ACC Toronto

    3. Neil Young

    4. Arranging.

    5. Personal growth and exploration. With the outside chance of people, other than me, enjoying it. 😀

  7. 1. Machinedrum, even before I got the UW upgrade. Very close second is Cool Edit/Audition.

    2. Whitehouse, NYC, November 2005. I wriggled like a f****** eel, and left the venue with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen. Those who know…

    3. Justin K. Broadrick, whether Godflesh, Techno Animal (Re-Entry especially), Final, Jesu, Sidewinder, etc. I like the vast majority of everything he has done. Close second is Penguin Cafe Orchestra (Simon Jeffes), for creativity and whimsy, and also because the music never sounds jaded or cynical, but full of wonder and joie de vivre (sic?).

    4. The eternal concern for most electronic musicians, I presume: making the sound/music in your head happen with the tools you have at your disposal. It’s generally tough for me to sit down with a specific idea in mind and to realize that idea to the letter. Usually I end up making something that came from my efforts but is different than my original intention (happy accidents, like Kevin above), or something else entirely. Both are things I’m quite alright with if it sounds good!

    5. I’d like more people to hear my stuff–whether or not I make $ from it–and to meet more musicians with similar perspectives.

  8. 1. DAW: Cubase /// VSTi: Alchemy /// Hardware: Octatrack

    2. Tough, but for rarity and the soul food it gave me it has to be James Brown, Brighton Essential Festival 2000.

    3. Got to be a toss up between Bjork & Radiohead.

    4. I find writing lyrics really challenging. I enjoy singing and often use my voice as an instrument, twisting the source audio into something far from what it started out as, but actual words don’t often come easily to me.

    5. I will always make music, I’ve been learning and honing my music tech & production skills for 10yrs & am still learning more all the time. I love it and need to do it to remain sane! Having said that though, I would love to be able to do it full time & not have to get soul-sapping jobs to pay the bills.

  9. 1 – It’s not quite related to EDM, but my friend’s Bill Nash S-57 distressed Strat clone would win. That guitar just makes everyone who touches it into a better guitarist and begs to be played.

    2 – Mr C (Richard West) @ Aurum in Atlanta. One of the pioneers of the scene playing at a smallish venue…complete with an after party that had me trading bottle shots of Stoli for Marlboro Lights. It won hands down when he dropped an original pressing of Your Love and just got better.

    3 – Rogue from the Crüxshadows. He’s a genuinely amazing person who honestly believes that music can change the world. He’s well-read and articulate, a very decent producer, a very good performer, and an obviously very proud and loving new father. It would be worth going to dragon con each year just for the conversations I’ve had with him.

    4 – Writing: melody. Performing: promotion.

    5 – I would love to work as a studio engineer and producer who occasionally DJs smallish nights (weekly would be fine, but not a full-on tour every year) and eventually works as a session guitarist in my own recording studio…and finally retires to do A&R for my own label. …if I ever grow a pair, that is.

  10. 1. What is your all-time favorite piece of gear (hardware or software) for making music?
    Ableton Live for its powerful flexability. TEAC3340S which I used with a Roland SH3A synth comes a close second.

    2. Best concert or club night you’ve ever been to?
    Pink Floyd live Melbopurne, 1970 or 1972

    3. Who’s the one artist or musician you look up to the most, the one who inspires you?
    Brian Eno for his creative energy.

    4. What’s the one aspect of writing or performing music that you find most challenging?

    Keeping my music organized. Too many pieces scattered all over various computers.

    5. Realistically, where do you see your music taking you? What do you eventually want to get out of it? (hookers and coke don’t count this time)

    I’m there already. Great home studio, for my needs anyway . Still expanding occasionally (Boss RC 300 looper arriving soon). No desire to perform for others. Like playing with one or two musicians who enjoy jamming. One day I may hire a venue and do a one off concert for invited people. That may be recorded.

  11. 1. Ableton Live takes it for me–I’ve been using it for 6 years and we get along frighteningly well. I have to give an honorable mention to the Korg EMX though, because I’ve banged out some of my best ideas on it and for improvised jamming I prefer it over Ableton.

    2. Probably the most recent time I saw Eliot Lipp. He played at Wonder Bar in Boston and brought a great set. Usually I prefer live PAs (with stems or hardware) to DJ sets, but he makes it so live and really transforms everything he plays. Plus it’s live PA-ish cause he plays an MS20 over the set.

    3. Robert Henke has always inspired me. I love his ideas and the ways he conveys them. Everything he says makes a lot of sense to me while still bringing up new thoughts about how to use different tools.

    4. I have a really hard time getting away from notions of genre and style and just making what I hear. I’ve only recently noticed how many almost subconscious thought processes prevent me from trying out certain ideas or taking tracks in certain directions while I’m working.

    5. I think it’s actually possible that I could have a future making music professionally–touring and putting out albums. I’m young now, in my 3rd year of college, so I’m going to give that aspiration a fair shot. I don’t want to put too much pressure on the act of making music, though, and being a full-time musician might not work out, so maybe I’ll end up teaching music/music technology for a living and playing shows and doing releases on the side.

  12. 1. What is your all-time favorite piece of gear (hardware or software) for making music?Personally I love modular synthesizers. I had a few months to get to know a Buchla 200e and I enjoyed that very well, but since I’m on a tight budget I stick to Ableton, Max/M4L, and Native Instruments for most of my work.

    2. Best concert or club night you’ve ever been to? Berghain in Berlin, Germany. Was quite the rave.

    3. Who’s the one artist or musician you look up to the most, the one who inspires you? It changes a lot, but I find artist like Autechre, Lenny Breau, and Radiohead to inspire me a lot.

    4. What’s the one aspect of writing or performing music that you find most challenging? Staying focused on the initial idea or emotion without swaying from it or becoming distracted with technicalities of computer music.

    5. Realistically, where do you see your music taking you? What do you eventually want to get out of it? (hookers and coke don’t count this time) Hopefully to do scoring and sound design in a plethora of multimedia. Also, to become an established experimental electronic artist.

  13. 1. Hard one, probably my brain… but that doesn’t really count. I’d say the Voyager XL as a) it cost me a lot b) it got me back to the basics of sound and signal flow.

    2. The Big Day Out festivals in Australia. Lucky enough to see Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert, Kraftwerk and a plethora of electronic artists over the time i was going. Plus some awesome bands to! It was always a good vibe when i was going as well; not sure about recent years.

    3. Way too hard to narrow to one really… as im sure everyone else thinks. Today? Jeremy P Caulfield… tomorrow, who knows? Maybe Adam Beyer, maybe Jeff Buckley.

    4. Commitment

    5. Nowhere… and happily at that.

  14. 1. ABleton Live is by far my most essential piece of gear. As far as hard-ware. There’s my APC40 and Launchpad that I couldn’t imagine living w/o. Massive and Predator are two of my favorite synths.

    2. Groove, Pittsburgh. Emilie Autumn, AFI.

    3. Richie Hawtin

    4. Mastering for sure!

    5. Music is my one true love. I enjoy experiencing it and creating it. It would be amazing to release songs and tour and play sold out shows but honestly whether that happens or not I’ll always make music. I’m not in it for the $. I would love for others to discover and enjoy my music.

  15. 1. Roland Jupiter 8 (except I sold it a long time ago). Otherwise, I’m kinda thinking FL Studio and Reaper. Wait, that’s 3 things.
    2. Best concert was actually a Cliff Richard concert – don’t hear much from him these days
    3. #1 artist who inspires me: Michael Jackson – especially from the “dark skin years”. 😉
    4. Most challenging: Writing verses. (I have this notion that verses are boring so I always try to make them more like choruses – not a good way to go; verses become choruses, choruses become verses).
    5. It’s be great if I could quit my day job – maybe one day. 🙂

  16. 1. Propellerhead Reason for SW since I do all of my productions on it. Hardware is probably my Roland MC307 cuz I built up my name using it in live shows here 🙂

    2. Ken Ishii in Boracay just cuz I had so much fun

    3. I’ve got tons of influences but generally I look up to all the musicians and artists who continue to make and play music out of their passion and not just to be rich or famous or just to bag some chicks.

    4. I find scoring very challenging. When presented with just a scene and it’s up to you to interpret it with sound is a real challenge.

    5. To get me to a place that I can make a living out of it without any lack. I make a living now out of making music but it’s just enough to get by. It’s fun to be working but doing what you love doing at the same time 🙂

  17. 1. Novation X-Station. It’s my soundcard, a decent hardware synth, a controller, it’s rugged and sturdy and it “just works”.

    2. Voodoo, Liverpool, when it was at a venue called ‘Le Bateau’ – amazing techno night where I saw Dave Clarke, Jeff Mills, Green Velvet and DJ Hell as well as techy DnB heads like Doc Scott and Grooverider.

    3. Bomb Squad probably, the production team behind Public Enemy. Their approach to sampling, their sheer exuberance and inventiveness with it, inspired my magpie approach to music making.

    4. Finding time to make music. It’s hard with a full-time job, a Masters course and a family, but carving out a few hours to make noise on a Sunday make it all worthwhile.

    5. My ambition is still to get a vinyl release. I’ve got a few digi releases under my belt now and it’s ace, but it would be great to have a slab of vinyl I could play to my grandkids one of these days.

  18. 1. gear – guitar, though I’ve been on extended hiatus from it since discovering Machinedrum last year and Octatrack this summer. I’m sure I’ll get back into it but the possibilities with these new pieces of gear are astonishing.

    2. concert – one contender would be Pat Metheny with his trio/quartet in 2005. Good lord can that guy wail. He’s not an alltime favorite as I’ve never cared for the PMG, but every time he steps out out of that context he amazes me and this was the one time I heard him do so live.

    3. artist or musician – way too many to even list a top 10.

    4. challenging aspect – getting a piece from a good sketch to a really polished finished piece. LIke building a house I suppose: I spend 90% of my time on the last 10%.

    5. where music will take me – besides the pure fun of creation, I’d like to have a few releases and play clubs for three- or four-figure audiences.

  19. Mostapha-funny to see you list Rogue as an influence. The Cruxshadows had just started up when I was in undergrad, I used to go to the Goth/Industrial night that Rogue DJed in Tallahassee back in 96 or so. Small world!

  20. Thanks everyone for posting your answers, really nice to see so many people participating, and seeing all the different things you’re all into musically. So, here’s my answers then:

    1. Probably not a big surprise to those that follow me, but my favorite bit of kit is definitely the Elektron Machinedrum-UW. I love “grooveboxes”, and this is the best of the best IMO. Equally suited to creating powerful beats in the studio, or for flowing improvisation live.

    2. Always a tough call, but I think I’m going to have to go with the Jane’s Addiction reunion tour. Goldie opened, I got in for free, and Smashing Pumpkins were a surprise opener. Jane’s and Pumpkins have long been my favorite ‘bands’, so that was a real treat seeing them both play amazing sets. Oh, and I found $120 on the floor of the venue as we were leaving. 🙂

    3. For me it would probably be cEvin Key. Skinny Puppy were a main factor in getting me into electronic music, and I love his ability to just make crazy, out there sounds flow in weird ways.

    4. Lately the most challenging aspect of making music for me is balancing it all. Running the mastering business, writing music, DJing, doing live sets, and most especially all the promoting and social aspects that go along with all of that. I dream of just making this blog my only contact with the world sometimes 🙂

    5. I’ve been lucky enough to achieve a lot of really big goals of mine already when it comes to music, but I still have really lofty goals. I’d love to finally break more into the Seattle scene and get some more DJ and live gigs, I miss how often I used to play out in Chicago. On the business side I want nothing less than to be the go to guy when it comes to mastering electronic music. Onwards and upwards I say!


    Thanks again everyone for taking the time to answer the questions. Feel free to ask some too, always looking for more submissions for the Production Q&A series!

  21. I have a question, though it’s not production-related… do you have Morphing Mechanism I and II (or do they even exist)? Do those live PAs have some kind of thread running through them? I’m curious about these things in general, but I’m also thinking about writing a paper on your live sets for a class on sketching/the creative process that I’m taking. I want to write about live PAs, and you’ve always been really open about the process.

  22. Good question. The Morphing Mechanism theme was based on the title of my first ever recorded live set, which was just me and a MC505 way back in 2000-2001. I don’t have them posted online at the moment, but it would be pretty fun to go back and hear those, so perhaps I’ll post them soon. Stay tuned.

    Feel free to contact me about your paper as well, email works best for that kind fo thing 🙂

  23. Actually, here’s Morphing Mechanism II from 2003:


    Back when I was going under the name “rEalm”.

    Track Start Time – Track Name
    00:00 – In The Red Light
    06:35 – Composite Blue
    11:32 – The Floating Sun
    17:39 – Twilight Inside
    23:46 – In Krimson
    29:04 – Lumanescent
    34:00 – DeLinear
    39:39 – Buried Within
    44:00 – Whispers In The Air
    50:49 – Time’s Window
    57:04 – This Pending Night
    58:46 – Frozen Clouds
    62:39 – The Bending Grass

  24. My best club nights are John Digweed @ Simon’s in Gainesville 1998 and 1999 (he played The Chain by the Breeder), Digweed @ Simon’s right before his 1st Global Underground CD came out when he was playing all that tribal house (I honestly do not remember the date). Josh Wink outdoor sunrise set Zen 1997 (dark, sick, and funky), Dave Seaman @ Simon’s in Gainesville when he dropped Skydive (1999 I think), and Sasha & Digweed @ GrooveJet in Miami for WMC 1997-ish (Sasha debuted Xpander and closed with Peter Heller’s Big Love and Atlanta, Digweed played a Breeder remix of Grace’s Not Over Yet). Also Digweed at the Groove on Universal City Walk in 1999 when he played the Breeder remix of Evolution’s Phoenix. That club was nuts!

  25. Sorry 🙂 here you go:

    1. What is your all-time favorite piece of gear (hardware or software) for making music?

    Everything in my studio right now is software. My DAW is Ableton Live 8.2. I am using a lot of different VST’s right now, mostly Z3ta+ 2, Stylus RMX, Rob Papen Predator & Rob Papen Blue, Massive, Reaktor, and Kontakt.

    2. Best concert or club night you’ve ever been to?

    See above 🙂

    3. Who’s the one artist or musician you look up to the most, the one who inspires you?

    John Digweed – I have been a big fan of his for a long time. To me he has the magic touch. There are a lot of producers and DJ’s that I really respect though: Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, Dave Seaman, Keoki (his classic JDJ and All Mixed Up mixed CD’s were huge for me when I first got into dance music), The Prodigy (Music for the Jilted Generation), FSOL (ISDN); and house DJ’s like Heather, Jay Tripwire, Mazi, Mark Farina, Josh Wink, amd Doc Martin.

    4. What’s the one aspect of writing or performing music that you find most challenging?

    Drums and percussion! I am pretty good at intertwining melodies with pads and basslines but getting getting a good groove to set the whole track off can be a challenge for me. Also, writing darker music in general is hard for me. I often sit down with the intention of writing a techno or dark house track and end up with something uplifting and progressive.

    5. Realistically, where do you see your music taking you? What do you eventually want to get out of it? (hookers and coke don’t count this time)

    I used to want to jet-set around the world as a famous DJ. I only got into writing music in an attemp to make that happen… but now I don’t really see all that. If I could make some kind of living out of a home studio writing music and occasionally gigging that would be perfect for me.

  26. 1. Ableton and my xone4d
    2. Kruder and Dorfmeister Big Chill 2011. Never dance hard to Downtempo! Good work fellas.
    3. Don’t Laugh… Mike Oldfield. They guy is a genius, grew up listening to his music, hundreds of instruments used, and he wasnt afraid of embracing technology. Even Todd Terje has done a re-edit of Mr Oldfields – Platinum. Also Micheal Mayer (Kompakt). The early stuff was proper experimental Techno. Love it. One more, Kraftwerk. Enough said.
    4. Trying to keep focused, and kerbing all the 100’s of Ideas which constantly buzz around in my head.
    5. To be able to bring smiles to all that hear my tunes.

  27. 1. Ableton. I like Sylenth and Surge synth-wise. Vengence 1-shot drum samples.
    2. Never been too blown away as I’ve been to a shockingly low number of club nights. A rave in Columbia, MO back in 92′ was and eye opener.
    3. Everything the Slyde boys do is amazing. Look up to those guys.
    4. Music will always be a side project. I’m signed to a label run by a great couple who’s very fair. As far as money goes, any success I’ve have is used as a calling card for the sync licensing industry. I’m starting to do music for TV commercials which is better money than anything I could hope to make on releases.

  28. Oops, forgot the most challenging… MIXDOWNS! That moment where you have to ship a tune to master and you have to go back, zero everything out and rebalance for 6DB of headroom is where my greatest sorrows have come from. So often, I end up with some part that’s louder or quieter than I’d want once it comes back from the engineer.

  29. Pingback: 5 More Questions
  30. 1. What is your all-time favorite piece of gear (hardware or software) for making music?

    Long live ableton. Fucking love it!
    Korg Zero 8, I dont own, it, i’ve read it has some flaws, but the things just seem the ultimate solution for everything studio or live.

    2. Best concert or club night you’ve ever been to?

    Well, not only in electronic music.
    Roger Waters Dark side of the moon here en buenos aires.
    Roger Waters The wall
    Dream Theater systematich chaos
    Justice at UMF Buenos Aires

    3. Who’s the one artist or musician you look up to the most, the one who inspires you?

    Wow, there are a lot.
    Well Justice was my transition between listening to progressive metal to listening EDM. So there basically one of the most important. I also love what the do “live”, despite what everyone says, they are like heroes to me.
    Then there is led zeppelin, daft punk, pink floyd, dream theater among lots of others.

    4. What’s the one aspect of writing or performing music that you find most challenging?

    Gathering and arranging enough material for my currently in progress ableton PA. Creating, arranging and finding stems its extremely difficult!

    5. Realistically, where do you see your music taking you? What do you eventually want to get out of it? (hookers and coke don’t count this time)

    Well, im currentyl participating in ableton SPAM competition of beat the clock! Currently 8th place in the global, It would be nice to win the trip to berlin, or at least win the ableton license for life!
    I’m also finishing my EP, looking foward to its release pretty soon.

    Love your articles, keep it up!

  31. 1. Yamaha SY77.

    2. Many. Recently, Jimpster at Los Globos in LA. Really inspired DJ set. I lost my mind dancing for 6 hours straight. It was spiritual.

    3. Any musicians and producers working hard and expressing themselves honestly and technically. There are many of them spanning many eras. I am particularly fond of early 80’s synth funk, boogie, disco, and jazz fusion musicians and producers for how they cooperated to marry musical technicality, synthesis, song-writing, and booty-shaking groove.

    4. Finding time to really sink into a tune. I rarely have good ideas, design good sounds, or develop a groove until 3-4 hours into a session, which I rarely have so much time to lock myself in a room. I really need to work up a template of instruments and get better at hammering out ideas faster. Not forcing, just facilitating what’s there.

    5. Top secret.

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